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[The Pied Piper - Flash 190]
Real Name: Hartley Rathaway
Known Relatives: Osgood and Rachel Rathaway (parents, deceased), Jerrie Rathaway (sister)
Occupation: Social Activist
Past Group Affiliations: The Rogues, Trickster’s FBI Project
Base of Operations: Central and Keystone Cities
Hair: Reddish Blonde
Eyes: Blue
First Appearance: Flash v.1 #106 (May 1959)

[The Pied Piper - Who’s Who]

Born deaf, Hartley Rathaway was eventually cured of his disability by research funded by his multimillionaire father. He became obsessed with sound, but seemed to have ambition for nothing else in life, spoiled by his parents’ lavish lifestyle. He started experimenting with the science of sonics in his early teens, and eventually perfected hypnotism through music. This life was too easy for Hartley, so he turned to crime to relieve his boredom. As the Pied Piper, he had many clashes with the second Flash.


[The Pied Piper - Flash 120] After Barry Allen’s death, the Piper abandoned crime in favor of socialism and a new role as a provider for the poor. He didn’t know it at the time, but the Top had messed with his mind, encouraging this new line of work. He once joked that he was the only super-villain he could think of who was gay, making it ironic that he’s one of the few rogues who have “gone straight” and stayed that way. In fact, he is a good friend of Wally West, the third Flash, and his wife Linda, often helping Wally on cases with his scientific skills.


Mirror Master framed Piper for the murder of his parents, and Rathaway went to prison. While in Iron Heights he developed a rapport with rats, like his namesake. As he grew more desperate, he broke out of prison, fleeing across several states before making a deal with the Trickster and the FBI. During his time in training with this team, a spell erased everyone’s memories of the Flash’s identity.

When the “good” Rogues went after the remaining “bad” Rogues, the Top arrived to undo his brainwashing—or perhaps to impose a new set of programming. As Piper battled the Flash, the speedster took a gamble and unmasked himself to his friend, triggering a flood of memories. Piper appeared to be his old self again, and went to Linda’s aid.

One year later, with Wally and Linda missing, the Pied Piper rejoined the Rogues out of loneliness. Heat Wave insisted on putting him through a series of loyalty tests.

Piper was present when several Rogues killed the fourth Flash, Bart Allen. They found themselves on the run from heroes and villains alike (Flash: TFMA #10–13: Full Throttle & Countdown, 2007). Trickster and Piper were the only ones to escape capture, though they were bound together by a pair of unbreakable handcuffs. They fled together across the country, until Deadshot caught up with them and killed the Trickster (Countdown to Final Crisis #22, 2007). At present, Piper remains bound to the corpse of his former comrade-in-arms.

Text by Kelson Vibber. Do not copy without permission.

Top of Page Art

  • Cape: The Flash #190 (November 2002) - Scott Kolins
  • Paramilitary Costume: Flash (second series) #120 (December 1996) - Paul Ryan and John Nyberg
  • Original Costume: Who’s Who (loose-leaf edition) #16 (February 1992) - Greg LaRocque and José Marzan, Jr.
  • Profile: The Flash #190 (November 2002) - Scott Kolins

Origin Tales

Rogue Profile: Flash #190
Rogue Profile Covers
  • Flash vol. 1 #307 (March 1982): “Prey for the Piper,” Cary Bates
  • Flash vol. 2 #190 (November 2002): “Rat Race,” Geoff Johns


  • Who’s Who in the DC Universe #18 (August 1986)
  • Who’s Who (loose-leaf edition) #16 (February 1992)
  • The Flash Secret Files #1 (November 1997)
  • The DC Comics Encyclopedia (2004)
  • Countdown #28 (October 17, 2007)
  • The Flash Companion (2008)

Significant Silver-Age Appearances

  • Flash #106 (May 1959): “The Pied Piper of Peril!” John Broome
  • Flash #138 (August 1963): “The Pied Piper’s Double Doom,” Gardner Fox
  • Flash #155 (September 1965): “The Gauntlet of Super-Villains,” John Broome
  • Flash #164 (September 1966): “Flash—Vandal of Central City,” John Broome
  • Flash #174 (November 1967): “Stupendous Triumph of the Six Super-Villains,” John Broome
  • Flash #218 (November 1972): “The Flash of 1000 Faces,” Cary Bates
  • Flash #231 (February 1975): “The Only Crook Flash Could Never Catch!” Cary Bates
  • Flash #239 (February 1976): “The Tailor-Made Crimes of Central City!” Cary Bates
  • Flash #254 (October 1977): “To Believe or Not to Believe!” Cary Bates
  • Flash #256 (December 1977): “Prisoner of the Past,” Cary Bates
  • Flash #293 (January 1981): “The Pied Piper’s Paradox Peril!” Gerry Conway
  • Flash #300 (August 1981): “1981—A Flash Odyssey,” Cary Bates (cameo)
  • Flash #307 (March 1982): “Prey for the Piper,” Cary Bates
  • Flash #325 (September 1983): “Dead Reckoning,” Cary Bates
  • Flash #333 (May 1984): “Down With The Flash,” Cary Bates
  • Flash #334 (June 1984): “Flash Freak-Out!” Cary Bates
  • Flash #335 (July 1984): “How To Trash a Flash!” Cary Bates
  • Flash #336 (August 1984): “Murder on the Rocks,” Cary Bates
  • Flash #337 (September 1984): “Beware the Speed-Demons!” Cary Bates
  • Flash #338 (October 1984): “The Revenge of the Rogues!” Cary Bates
  • Flash #346 (June 1985): “Dead Man’s Bluff,” Cary Bates

Significant Legacy-Era Appearances

  • Flash #20 (Holiday 1988): “Lost, Worthless, and Forgotten,” William Messner-Loebs
  • Secret Origins #41 (June 1989): “A Rogue By Any Other Name,” Dan Mishkin and Gary Cohn
  • Flash #31 (October 1989): “The Comfort of a Stranger,” William Messner-Loebs
  • Flash #32 (November 1989): “Welcome to Keystone City,” William Messner-Loebs
  • Flash #35 (February 1990): “Behold the Turtle!” William Messner-Loebs (cameo)
  • Flash #44 (November 1990): “Balance Sheet,” William Messner-Loebs
  • Flash #46–47 (January–February 1991): “The Day of the Beast” and “Old Dogs - New Teeth,” William Messner-Loebs
  • Flash #51 (June 1991): “Rage of the Proletariat,” William Messner-Loebs
  • Flash #53 (August 1991): “Fast Friends,” William Messner-Loebs
  • Flash #56–57 (November 1991): “The Way of a Will,” William Messner-Loebs
  • Flash #58 (January 1992): “The Barry Allen Foundation,” William Messner-Loebs
  • Flash #60 (March 1992): “Last Resorts, Part 2,” William Messner-Loebs (cameo)
  • Flash #61 (April 1992): “The Old Wedding Dodge,” William Messner-Loebs
  • Flash #67 (August 1992): “Misdirection,” Mark Waid
  • Flash #74 (March 1993): “Trust” (The Return of Barry Allen Part 1), Mark Waid
  • Flash #80,82 (September–October 1993): “Back on Track Parts 1 & 3,” Mark Waid
  • Flash #90 (May 1994): “On the Run,” Mark Waid (cameo)
  • Flash #93 (August 1994): “Reckless Youth Chapter 2: Quick Study,” Mark Waid
  • Flash #97–100 (January–April 1995): “Terminal Velocity Parts 3–6", Mark Waid
  • Flash #106 (October 1995): “Back With A Vengeance,” Mark Waid
  • Flash #112 (April 1996): “Future Perfect,” Mark Waid
  • Flash #118 (October 1996): “Cold, Cold Heart,” Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn
  • Flash #120–121 (December 1996–January 1997): “Presidential Race!” Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn
  • Flash #127–128 (July–August 1997): “Hell To Pay Parts 1–2,” Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn
  • Flash Annual 10 (1997): “Sound and Fury” (Pulp Heroes), Michael Jan Friedman
  • New Year’s Evil: The Rogues (February 1998): “Men & Gods,” Brian Augustyn
  • Flash #140 (August 1998): “The Black Flash Part 2,” Mark Millar
  • Flash #154 (November 1999): “Dimensionally Challenged,” Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn (alternate reality)
  • Flash #155–157 (December 1999–February 2000): The Dark Flash Saga, Mark Waid and Brian Augustyn
  • Flash #168–169 (January–February 2001): Wonderland parts 5–6, Geoff Johns
  • Flash #170 (March 2001): “Blood Will Run part 1: Breaking the Foundation,” Geoff Johns
  • Flash: Iron Heights (2001), Geoff Johns
  • Flash #178 (November 2001): “Caged,” Geoff Johns
  • Flash #179 (December 2001): “Smile for the Camera,” Geoff Johns
  • DC First: Flash/Superman (July 2002): “Speeding Bullets,” Geoff Johns
  • Flash #190 (November 2002): “Rat Race,” Geoff Johns
  • Flash #210 (July 2004): “Reconnected,” Geoff Johns (cameo)
  • Flash #215–216 (December 2004–January 2005): “The Secret of Barry Allen” Parts 2–3, Geoff Johns
  • Flash #217 (February 2005): “Post-Crisis,” Geoff Johns
  • Flash #218 (March 2005): “Rogue Profile: Heat Wave,” Geoff Johns
  • Flash #½ (2005): “Rogue Wars Prologue: Tricksters,” Geoff Johns (cameo)
  • Flash #220–225 (May–October 2005): “Rogue War,” Geoff Johns
  • Flash #226 (November 2005): “Down Time,” Stuart Immonen & Kathryn Kuder

Significant One-Year-Later Flash Appearances

  • The Flash: The Fastest Man Alive #11–13 (June–August 2007): “Full Throttle,” Marc Guggenheim
  • All-Flash #1 (September 2007): “Justice, Like Lightning,” Mark Waid
  • Regular in Countdown (2007–2008)
  • Final Crisis: Rogues’ Revenge (3-issue miniseries, September-November 2008), Geoff Johns

Related Commentary

The Flash Companion The Flash Companion
Preview at Speed Force
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